May 20th, 2008
06:55 PM ET
10 years ago

Clinton chastises press for ignoring sexism

Clinton said sexism has played a large role in the campaign.

Clinton said sexism has played a large role in the campaign.

(CNN) - In her most wide-ranging comments to date on the role gender has played in the Democratic presidential race, Hillary Clinton said sexist attacks on her campaign have been "deeply offensive," and sharply criticized the press for not raising the issue.

"There should be equal treatment of the sexism and the racism when it raises its ugly head," Clinton told the Washington Post in an article published in the paper's Tuesday edition. "It does seem as though the press at least is not as bothered by the incredible vitriol that has been engendered by the comments by people who are nothing but misogynists."

"…I believe this campaign has been a groundbreaker in a lot of ways. But it certainly has been challenging given some of the attitudes in the press."

Listen to excerpts from the Clinton interview.

Clinton, who is banking on a large win in Kentucky Tuesday to keep her presidential hopes alive, also said she doesn't believe racism has played a role in the presidential campaign. But the New York senator said sexist attitudes among voters and members of the media have been a constant detriment to her White House hopes.

Speaking with supporters on a Friday conference call, Clinton said she regretted that many of them have faced sexist attacks.

"I deeply regret the vitriol and the mean-spiritedness and the terrible insults and rhetoric that has been thrown around at you for supporting me, at women in general, at many of those who support my campaign because of who they are and their stand based on principle," she said. "I don't have time for their insults, I'm impervious to them."

Some of those supporters are taking up Clinton’s complaint. Several pro-Clinton and women’s groups are holding rallies Tuesday in swing states like Pennsylvania, Ohio, Florida and Michigan, and outside network studios in Burbank, California.

“If you want to have your voice heard saying, ‘enough is enough!’ then please join us in support of all American women who refuse to be diminished in the American Press,” says Professionals for Hillary in a statement e-mailed to supporters and posted on the group’s Web site.

“We need your support at these rallies to show America that women are not putting up with this anymore! Please send this information to all your Hillary friends and family. Bring your Hillary signs. We need to send a strong message to the media and the Democratic Party that says, ‘not so fast!’”

In an interview with the New York Times over the weekend, 1984 Democratic vice presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro – who supports Clinton - said she may not vote for Barack Obama if he is the party's nominee and said he has acted "terribly sexist."

Speaking on NBC's Today Show Tuesday, Ferraro also said, sexism was "rampant" in this year's presidential campaign. "There is a real difference in this country. It is not okay to be racist. It is just not. It is almost acceptable to be sexist," said Ferraro.

Ferraro has not shied away from discussing the impact of race and gender throughout the Democratic presidential campaign. In March, the former congresswoman told a California newspaper the chief reason Obama's candidacy was successful was because he was black. She maintained her comments were not racist, but ultimately resigned her finance post from the Clinton campaign after they caused an uproar.

Speaking with NBC Tuesday, Ferraro pointed to New Hampshire Clinton rally during which a man in the audience displayed a sign saying "Iron my shirt."

"Suppose somebody at that Barack Obama rally said 'Shine my shoes,'" Ferraro said. “The person would have been swamped by the media saying, ‘what, are you a racist?’ Hillary barely saw press on this. It is not only the Obama campaign. It is how the press has handled this."

soundoff (638 Responses)
  1. Tom Hopkin

    What else will you complain about Hillary. You already have a problem with math and the Demotratic rules. Please give it up!!!

    May 20, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  2. Unshrub

    Just becasue CNN has negative stories about Clinton doesn't mean they are being biased. What it means is Hillary should take the hint and quit. The news is negative about her because that is the way it is.

    May 20, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  3. Chris Troy

    Oh grow up Hillary. It's not that the media is sexist, it's that we just DON'T LIKE YOU!!!!!

    May 20, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  4. uc







    May 20, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  5. Tempered

    I'm a (white) woman supporting Obama. Should I protest against myself and all my female friends and relatives under the age of 60 who are also supporting Obama?

    Clinton's cry of sexism is, at this point in time, BALONEY. It's about as valid as OJ blaming his legal/criminal troubles on racism.

    May 20, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  6. Karen

    Sadly Hillary you lost not because you are a woman, you lost this race because of your campaign behaviour. You deserved to lose.

    Stop being a victim, there are far more deserving victims than you.

    May 20, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  7. Josh Columbus Ohio

    First, I love both Hillary and Obama. I think both would be great. However, I have to agree with her on this. I think the media has been a little sexist.

    Either way, the most important thing to me is to have a one of these two elected. Even if my first choice is not on the ticket.

    May 20, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  8. peacelvn

    nice try

    May 20, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  9. Michael

    I'm sorry is Hillary still in this race?

    May 20, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  10. Jon, Illinois

    SHUT!!!! UP!!!!! GO AWAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    May 20, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  11. Andrew

    This smacks of desperation.

    It is only in the waining stages that this is claimed.

    Clinton sqaundered the Clinton Brand by running an offensive, and terrible campaign. Fuled by her husband, a shell of his former self trying to racially divide this nation, when the AA community used to be squarely behind him.

    Mark Penn sabatoged, indirecty, her campaign with his ties to Columbia.

    Then Clinton herself sandbagged her campaign with "small states don't count" but then they do (WV, KY) and popular vote doesn't count, but now it does. Then Bosnia sniper issue, gas tax pandering, "hard working, white voter" comments led to her being viewed as not trustworthy.

    No along comes sexism.

    The real issue was that her people never planned for a post Super Tuesday campaign. And this has cost them the nomination.

    May 20, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  12. elleG

    I am an african-american women and I know that Racism has played a major role in this presidential campaign. Sexism, Not !!!!! She and Bill and their supporters have bought up race on multiple occasions and have been most devisive thoughout this entire campaign. I will never vote for or support her!

    May 20, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  13. shelly in IL

    HAHAHAHA... ok, where did she come up with this one? That Farrwell lady? Look Mrs. Clinton, are you not the one that said "most of the blue collar, hard working Americans" are voting for you? Aren't the majority of them men or am I crazy?

    Where does she come up with these (spur of the moment) comments? I don't understand! This will honestly be her downfall.

    May 20, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  14. Simple


    a quiz for you ......... which famila has repeated the quotation most in the past two months "if you can stand the heat get out of kichen"

    May 20, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  15. Thank You Democrats

    Would you like some cheese with that whine?

    Never has a presidential candidate complained so much. There is no way she or her husband EVER be allowed in the White House again.

    May 20, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  16. Grace

    Ms. Ferraro and Senator Clinton are sadly mistaken. Mrs. Ferraro is just plain said. Yes, sexism and racism both exist in America today and BOTH have reared their ugly heads in this Presidential Campaign. I am a 47 year old black woman residing in Florida. I do not believe the Florida or Michigan votes should be counted because rules should count for something. I was originally a supporter of John Edwards because I liked his message. When Edwards dropped out, I became a supporter of Senator Obama because he has proven to be a superior candidate in every regard, not because he is black. Ethnically speaking, white women who will vote against Senator Obama are only punishing their children and grandchildren. Electing Senator McCain will overturn Roe v. Wade and send countless more yound Americans off to die in wars that should not be waged. I too am not against all wars, just dumb ones. Generationally speaking, Ms. Ferraro is pathetically out of touch. Senator Obama was brushing the whole Philadelphia debate experience off his shoulders. That debate was anything but. It was not about any issues of importance.

    May 20, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  17. Marie in California

    Sexism and racism both....and probably unavoidable, given Obama and HIllary are respective "firsts" in their candidacy for president and so dredge up the sediment of bias among both voters and those who report the news. As a highly educated (Ph.D.) boomer female, I have encountered a whole lot of gender bias across my life, including (and especially) during childhood.

    As for sexism, in the current primary contest that has definitely been exacerbated by the MSM who have been, shamelessly and with fawning adulation, actively hustling Obama for the presidency. Whatever happened to unbiased reporting of the news?

    As a result, I have gotten to the point where I no longer watch CNN, MSNBC or CBS for news or anything else, and I have only watched NBC for their weekly episode of "ER" and nothing more. I will sometimes watch ABC news and programming because they are more objective. During the current primary season, those networks have totally lost credibility with me and, as a result, they have also lost any respect I might have had for them.

    Hillary remains my candiate of choice....and that has very little to do with gender. If she does not get the nomination, then I will settle for McCain.

    I will NOT vote for Obama.....and that is not based on race. Simply put, he is not qualified to be president. Let him come back in about 10 years after he learns more about life and politics, and I'll look at him again and see what's there in terms of track record and character. At this time, however, the only vote I can give him is the vote of...... NO CONFIDENCE.

    May 20, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  18. Michael - Sacramento, CA

    I don't think sexism alone explains why Clinton is behind–I think she is losing because she ran a negative race and reinforced the negative perceptions some voters already had of her.

    I've been watching this campaign very closely and have not noticed sexist attacks emanating directly from the opposing campaigns. As an Obama supporter who is also committed to fairness, this makes me happy. I HAVE seen an outpouring of sexist ugliness in newspaper columns, blogs, and posted in comments here on CNN and elsewhere.

    Speaking for myself, I think the U.S. should have moved beyond such stuff decades ago. Speaking as an extremely minor cog in Obama's election campaign here in California, I wish that voters who support him would refrain from making sexist remarks about Hillary Clinton. It doesn't promote the kind of campaign Sen. Obama wants to run; it doesn't help him in any way; and it antagonizes people who will be voting (or not) in November.

    May 20, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  19. Chad, VA

    Jack .. Please give me a break this is hypocrisy at is best. How can Sen Clinton utter those comments about sexism without also adding that race has had a major role in this campaign. If the tables were turn with the delegate math the general election would be in full swing. Can someone please tell her that the FAT LADY is on her third ballot and she wants the stage to her self.

    May 20, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  20. fromCT

    Pleeeeeease! Enough hypocrisy and see through politics. Continuing to drive a wedge with divisive politics. As for mysogynists, I think you are married to one.

    May 20, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  21. grace

    Hillary wasn't yelling sexism during the first 10 months of the campaign when the press was pegging her a sure bet for the nominee. She is running out of things to blame on her obvious defeat.

    She is beginning to look pathetic.

    May 20, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  22. Ito, Yokosuka Japan

    So sexism is taboo and unfair, but Hillary Clinton will play the race card in a second. Hillary Clinton is a disgrace and it's not because she is a woman. It's the content of her character, her lack of morals, and her blatant disregard for truth. Hillary Clinton is shameless and disgusting.

    May 20, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  23. KEN

    Senator Hillary Clinton promoted sexism in this campaign. Her "let's make history" speeches are about electing a woman president. Not the best necessarily, but a woman. I personally don't care if my president is male, female, or transvestite. I want the best president.
    It seems to me that Hillary Clinton is the sexist in this campaign.

    May 20, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  24. No Hillary

    Sorry Hillary...if Obama is not complaining about your Race related negative comments ... you should for sure not complain about sexism.

    The fact is simple: YOU LOST , OBAMA WON

    May 20, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  25. LT

    Give me a break!

    What will she come up with next?

    – to OKC Doc Struble – I could not have said it better!

    May 20, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
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